USDA Target Architecture Definitions


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USDA Target Architecture Definitions

  1. 1. Target Architecture Definitions September 2006
  2. 2. DOCUMENT HISTORY Subject Enterprise Architecture Target Architecture Summary This document defines the USDA Target Enterprise Architecture elements. Author(s) Tracey Ambeau, USDA Enterprise Architecture Division Jay Pelletier - Headstrong, Incorporated Release date August 24, 2006 Release number 1.2 History of changes Release No. Release Date Description 1.1 06/27/06 Preliminary draft document for comment and approval. 1.2 08/24/06 Approved by the OCIO Policy Execution Board Table of Contents Table 1: EA Layout & Layers........................................................................3 Table 4: External Area.................................................................................16
  3. 3. Table 1: EA Layout & Layers USDA Target Architecture The interim target architecture describes the high- Framework level, enterprise-wide future state for the Department within the context of strategic business direction of major IT systems that are in turn, supported by a set of common technologies, reusable services, and shared data. Customer Groups or individuals who have a business relationship with the organization--those who receive and use or are directly affected by the products and services of the organization. Customers include direct recipients of products and services, internal customers who produce services and products for final recipients, and other organizations and entities that interact with an organization to produce products and services. [GAO] Employee Any person employed by the Government of the United States or any branch, unit, or instrumentality thereof, including persons in the civil service, uniformed service, Foreign Service, and the postal service. Partners Collaborator or stakeholder. An individual or group with an interest in the success of an organization in delivering intended results and maintaining the viability of the organization's products and services. Stakeholders influence programs, products, and services. [GAO] Citizens Citizen describes the mission and purpose of the United States government in terms of the services it provides both to and on behalf of the American citizen. It includes the delivery of citizen-focused, public, and collective goods and/or benefits as a service and/or obligation of the Federal Government to the benefit and protection of the nation’s general population. Agency Any executive department, military department, government corporation, government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Federal government, or any independent regulatory agency. Within the Executive Office of the President, the term includes only OMB and the Office of Administration. [OMB Circular A-130] Common Enterprise-Wide Regards usage business functions, applications or systems, databases and data warehouses, and technology, by more than one USDA agency or staff office. [EAD]
  4. 4. External Regards support and usage of Federal initiatives [EAD] Business Layer USDA’s depiction of its business priorities and mission, Lines of Busines, business functions and sub-functions. [EAD] Applications & Services Layer Describes the capabilities and functionalities of USDA’s IT appplications. It describes the comprehensive view of USDA’s current capabilities as well as target capabilities that will fully support the OMB Service Reference Model. Data Layer Depicts storage and retrieval of USDA information mostly via databases, data marts, and data warehouses. Technology Layer Functional characteristics, capabilities, and interconnections of the hardware, software, and telecommunications [OMB Circular A-130]. Security Enterprise-wide Security on all levels – USDA – OCIO-Cyber Security has established a level of security for all information systems that is commensurate to the risk and magnitude of the harm resulting from the loss, misuse, unauthorized access to, or modification of the information stored or flowing through these systems [OMB Circular A-130]. Standards & Policies Standards refer to all standards, guidelines, and best practices that are developed by USDA and used within the architecture either at USDA or elsewhere, or are developed elsewhere and used by USDA. Per OMB Circular A-130, USDA is expected to adopt standards necessary to support the entire EA, which must be enforced consistently throughout the agency. Example: HSPD-12 –Policy for common ID system for all Federal Employees and contractors and Internet Protocol version 6 a network layer IP standard used by electronic devices to exchange data across a packet-switched internetwork.
  5. 5. Table 2: Agency Area (Business Layer) Natural Resources & Energy Combination of 3 Business Reference Model Lines of Business: Natural Resources, Environmental Management, and Energy services.html. Natural Resources LoB functions involve conservation planning, land management, and national park/monument tourism that affect the nations natural and recreational resources, both private and federal. Environmental Management LoB activities require monitoring the environment and weather, determining proper environmental standards and ensuring their compliance, and addressing environmental hazards and contamination. Energy refers to actions performed by the government to ensure the procurement and management of energy resources, including the production, sale and distribution of energy, as well as the management of spent fuel resources. Energy management includes all types of mass-produced energy (e.g., hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, solar, or fossil fuels). Also included in this Line of Business is the oversight of private industry. Regulatory Development & Combination of two lines of business that respresents Compliance the Marketing and Inspection Programs mission areas of USDA. Regulatory Development involves activities associated developing regulations, policies, and guidance to implement laws. reg.html Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement involves the direct monitoring and oversight of a specific individual, group, industry, or community participating in a regulated activity via market mechanisms, com-mand and control features, or other means to control or govern conduct or behavior. reg.html Education & Research Combination of two lines of business: Knowledge Creation and Management involves the programs and activities in which the Federal
  6. 6. Government creates or develops a body or set of knowledge, the manipulation and analysis of which can provide inherent benefits for both the Federal and private sector. a-3-3-mode-know.html Education refers to those activities that impart knowledge or understanding of a particular subject to the public. Education can take place at a formal school, college, university or other training program. This Line of Business includes all government programs that promote the education of the public, including both earned and unearned benefit programs. services-education.html International Refers to the International Affairs and Commerce LoB that involves non-military activities that promote U.S. policies and interests beyond our national borders, including the negotiation of conflict resolution, treaties, and agreements. In addition, this function includes: foreign economic development and social/political development; diplomatic relations with other Nations; humanitarian, technical and other developmental assistance to key Nations; and global trade. services-internation.html Health Health involves Federal programs and activities to ensure and provide for the health and well being of the public. This includes the direct provision of health care services and immunizations as well as the monitoring and tracking of public health indicators for the detection of trends and identification of wide- spread illnesses/diseases. services-health.html USDA, APHIS’s responsibilities under the Animal Welfare Act are covered, as well as the Marine
  7. 7. Mammal Act. USDA, Rural Development’s responsibilities Telemedicine is covered under this line of business. It provides access to care. USDA’s definition of Health also includes Nutrition Assistance provided by Food and Nutrition Service and Human Nutrition research provided by the Agricultural Research Service. (Applications and Services Layer) Agency Organization Portals Agency specific portals that have not been moved to the USDA portal Agency Business Applications Agency specific business applications that cannot be moved to the common (Data Layer) Agency Web Content Agency specific web content Agency Databases Agency specific that have not migrated to common solution Agency Document Content Agency specificdocument content Agency Financial Datamarts Agency specific that have not migrated to common solution (Technology Layer) Agency Telecomm Agency specific telecommunications that have not moved to Universal Telecommunications Backbone Desktop Infrastructure Agency specific destktop infrastructure. An enterprise infrastructure configuration is under development.
  8. 8. Table 3: Common Area (Business Layer) Financial Assistance Includes all USDA payment utilities: grants, loans, subsidies, transfers to states. Federal Financial Assistance. The provision of earned and unearned financial or monetary-like benefits to individuals, groups, or corporations. fed.html Credit and Insurance involves the use of government funds to cover the subsidy cost of a direct loan or loan guarantee or to protect/indemnify members of the public from financial losses. credit.html Transfers to States and Local Governments involves the transfer of funds or financial assistance from the Federal government to State and Local governments and Indian tribes. transfers.html Civil Rights USDA uses the Workforce Management LoB for Civil Rights. It is the closest line of business similar to our activities. Workforce Management includes those activities that promote the welfare of the Nation’s workforce by improving their working conditions, advancing opportunities for profitable employment, and strengthening free collective bargaining. workforce.html Program Oversight USDA uses the Support Delivery of Services Business Area to address Program Oversight. Controls and Oversight ensures that the operations and programs of the Federal government and its external business partners comply with applicable laws and regulations and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. http:// controls.html
  9. 9. Internal Risk Management and Mitigation involves all activities relating to the processes of analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate counter- measures. It includes Contingency Planning, Continuity of Operations, and Service Recovery. http:// internal.html Management of Government Management of Government Resources refers to the back Resources office support activities that enable the government to operate effectively. management.html It includes: Human Resource Management, Financial Management, Administrative Management, Supply Chain Management, and Information Techology Management. Economic Economic Development includes the activities required to promote commercial/industrial development and to regulate the American financial industry to protect investors. It also includes the management and control of the domestic economy and the money supply, and the protection of intellectual property and innovation. economic.html Homeland Security Homeland Security involves protecting the nation against terrorist attacks. This includes analyzing threats and intelligence, guarding borders and airports, protecting critical infrastructure, and coordinating the response emergencies. The Homeland Security Line of Business is defined by the President’s Strategy on Homeland Security. Note: Some of the Critical Mission Areas from the President’s strategy have already been identified in other Lines of Business in the BRM. homeland.html
  10. 10. Planning and Budgeting Formerly the Planning and Resource Allocation line of business. Planning and Budgeting involves activities of determining strategic direction, identifying and establishing programs and processes, allocating resources (capital and labor) among those programs and processes. The corresponding subfunctions incude: budget formulation, capital planning, enterprise architecture, strategic planning, budget execution, workforce planning, management improvement, budget and performance integration, and tax and fiscal policy. _CRM_v20_Final_June_2006.pdf Legal & Law Enforcement USDA combined two lines of business Litigation and Judicial Services and Law Enforcement to create this line of business. Per the BRM, Litigation and Judicial services refer to those activities assocatied with the administration of justice. USDA has Adjudication Law Judges, a National Appeals Division, and an Office of General Counsel which support several of the related subfunctions: judicial hearings, legal defense, legal investigation, legal prosecution and litigation, and resolution facilitiation. _CRM_v20_Final_June_2006.pdf Per the BRM, Law Enforcement involves activities to protect people, places, and things from criminal activity resulting from non-compliance with U.S. laws. This includes patrols, undercover operations, response to emergency calls, as well as arrests, raids, and seizures of property. law.html Disaster Management Disaster Management involves the activities required to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and repair the effects of all disasters whether natural or man-made. It includes the following subfunctions: • Emergency Response
  11. 11. • Disaster Monitoring and Prediction • Disaster Preparedness and Planning • Disaster Repair and Restore disaster.html (Applications and Services Layer) AgLearn USDA’s enterprise learning management system that supports the development of the Federal workforce and advances the accomplishment of agency missions through simplified and one-stop access to learning products and services. AgLearn is USDA’s single system of record for employee training and the single system for feeding training information to OPM. Asset Management System USDA-wide asset management solution that meets all financial management, information security, and internal control requirements. USDA expects this system to provide online access to property management information and source data entry, and the ability to provide financial data integrity that will maintain an unqualified, or "clean," opinion on an audit of the consolidated financial statements. Civil Rights Enterprise System Enterprise System supporting Civil Rights Enterprise HR Applications Initiative to develop policies and tools to streamline and automate the electronic exchange of standardized HR data needed for creation of an official employee record across the Executive Branch. The EHRI tool set and central data repository will provide comprehensive knowledge management workforce analysis, forecasting, and reporting across the Executive Branch for the strategic management of human capital. Document Management Enterprise product (Stellent) to manage information in electronic form including classification capability, workflow management, and records management. Enterprise Correspondence USDA’s enterprise application for managing Management Module correspondence. The application is developed on the Stellent platform and may be easily tailored to support management of other types of electronic files. Computer Emergency The Computer Emergency Notification System (CENS) Notification System application to enhance existing procedures for emergency planning and notification. The CENS application utilizes the internet/intranet to notify
  12. 12. personnel of emergencies, building-related alerts and messages in a designated environment. Configuration Management The Configuration Management Information Tracking Systems System (CMITS) is an interim Configuration Management Database (CMDB) that helps NITC personnel document hardware, hardware relationships (infrastructure), installed software and some limited financial information throughout the life-cycle of the stored items. [Source: EA Repository] Web Content Management Tool Departmental solution for managing the publishing, sharing, and classification of Web pages, documents, official records, and correspondence. [eGov Strat Plan] Corporate Financial Management It is a corporate-wide solution for financial System management reform and systems integration at the USDA. The Foundation Financial Information System (FFIS) is at the core of the portfolio supporting the Department’s core financial management functions. Portal USDA’s enterprise Web delivery architecture that allows users to navigate USDA information and services based on their desired tasks or topics, rather than by the organizational structure of the Department. USDA’s redesigned and restructured web sites in the portal utilize standard user-interface guidelines. The result is a consistent look and intuitive navigation across all USDA sites and web-based applications. The initiative also includes the definition of a portal strategy to migrate all agency Web sites into the common infrastructure. Worklenz Portfolio Manager USDA’s implementation of a capital planning and investment control (CPIC) process to manage its IT investments and support IT budget preparation via use of the WorkLenz project and portfolio management system. As such, it provides a repository for management information (e.g., Exhibit 53 summary financial data, Exhibit 300 business case summaries) and other reports as determined by USDA and OCIO managers. Also, WorkLenz provides support for earned value management (EVM)—a technique for tracking actual project and portfolio performance against estimates so as to determine progress toward pre-determined expectations at any point in time USDA Travel System TRVL is used to process travel authorizations, travel advances, travel vouchers for temporary duty (TDY) and relocation travel
  13. 13. Integrated Acquisition System A USDA Smart Choice to implement the Presidential Initiative, Integrated Acquisition Envrionment, and provide a web-based solution to streamline and automate contract management and acquisition processes throughout USDA. Contingency Planning Suite The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (CPS) formerly Living Disaster Contingency Planning Suite (CPS) of software enables Recovery Planning System USDA to develop readily-available, centralized contingency plans and perform management and recovery functions in disaster situations. The objective of this investment is to employ a Department-wide technology solution to improve the efficiency, quality, and success of USDA contingency planning and management efforts and to eliminate paper-intensive and often redundant efforts by various elements within the Department. The CPS comprises three Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products developed by Strohl Systems: Business Impact Analysis (BIA) Professional, Living Disaster Recovery Planning System (LDRPS), and Incident Manager (IM). USDA Common Customer The USDA Customer Statement is part of the USDA's Statement eGovernment Initiative and brings to the farmer and rancher unprecedented online access to their business activities with USDA 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Customer Statement allows USDA customers to view: • their participation, application and payment status in various commodity and conservation programs, • information on farm loans, and • conservation plan and land unit information. Enterprise Identity Management A suite of applications that support USDA’s eAuthentication Service and HSPD-12. USDA e-Grants System A common back-office system that supports all grant- making agencies review and approval decision functions and provides a standard interface with reporting and financial systems. USDA Enterprise Architecture USDA’s repository which contains known information Repository about agency and staff office investments. This information includes: • The Federal Enterprise Architecture Reference Models
  14. 14. • Agency or staff office information technology investments • Strategic goals, objectives, and strategies, • Related projects, applications/systems or outcomes, • Related underlying technical components. Web-Based Supply Chain This initiative will leverage supply chain management Management technologies to enable USDA agencies (i.e., FAS, FSA, AMS, FNS) and their partners (primarily USAID, US school districts, domestic producers, State agencies and industry), to manage commodity purchasing and food distribution seamlessly for USDA programs. Isolated USDA initiatives will be consolidated and supported by flexible new technologies that provide real-time inventory management, food tracking and estimated delivery cycles, order fulfillment, and financial management and allocation. (Data Layer) Records All processes of managing official records data. Shared Web Content Web content that is in a standardized format in the Stellent Web content repository. This content may be seamlessly redeployed on any web page. Training Content Documents and presentation material that is used to educate users through a learning management system. Grant Databases A common form of distributive systems that supports agencywide grants functions in multiple locations.H/W hosted by NITC. Loan Databases A common form of distributive systems that supports agencywide loan functions in multiple locations. Financial Data Warehouse An on-demand reporting application that is built upon the nightly financial extracts from the Foundation Financial Information System (FFIS) applications and the biweekly payroll detail for each agency. Hosted at NITC. [Source: EA Repository] (Technology Layer) Universal Telecommunications USDA’s corporate data network backbone for Network providing customers with more secure, robust, and flexible telecommunications capabilities and enhanced network support services. The UTN is envisioned to be a robust telecommunications wide area network backbone that provides scalable, reliable, secure, and cost effective services 24X7X365 to enable USDA agencies to meet Departmental missions and goals. Data Centers ITS Data Centers are an enterprise-wide solution to
  15. 15. analyze large quantities of data from numerous data sources and produce quality data for SCA business applications.[Source: EA Repository] A centralized IT operations facility that hosts computer and telecommunications systems and the personnel required to operate them. To meet Federal standards, such facilities have robust physical, system, and personnel security, advanced fire suppression capabilities, on-site electrical generation capabilities, and as few single sources of failure as is feasible. The USDA Enterprise Computer Center is the National Information Technology Center, which is designated by Departmental Regulation 3200-001 as the “first source of supply” for IT operational services within the USDA. Regional and Metropolitan LANs A communications system that links computers into a network, usually via a wiring-based cabling scheme. LANs connect PCs, workstations and servers together to allow users to communicate and share resources like hard disk storage and printers. Devices linked by a LAN may be on the same floor or within a building or campus. It is user-owned and does not run over leased lines, though a LAN may have gateways to the PSTN or other, private, networks. Source: Source: A metropolitan area network (MAN) is a network that interconnects users with computer resources in a geographic area or region larger than that covered by even a large local area network (LAN) but smaller than the area covered by a wide area network (WAN). The term is applied to the interconnection of networks in a city into a single larger network (which may then also offer efficient connection to a wide area network). It is also used to mean the interconnection of several local area networks by bridging them with backbone lines. The latter usage is also sometimes referred to as a campus network. Source: Web Farms Centralized hosting environment for the Service Center Agencies. Designed to enable secure web access and utilize a common infrastructure, the Web Farms provide a medium to take advantage of electronic web access. This support system provides customers the ability to conduct self-service transactions, electronic procurement, access to information, and dissemination
  16. 16. of electronic information. The ITS Web Farms share a common infrastructure design. The FSA web farm is located in Kansas City, the NRCS web farm is in Fort Collins, and RD web farm is in St. Louis. IT Infrastructure USDA’s IT Infrastructure Configuration Enterprise Messaging Enterprise Messaging is a transport mechanism or conveyance to provide information or data to end-users. Table 4: External Area (Business Layer) Human Resources Human Resources provides exceptional leadership and support through human resources best practices and programs that enable USDA to attract, develop, and retain the people who provide quality services to USDA and all activities associated with the recruitment and management of USDA personnel. Health Health involves Federal programs and activities to ensure and provide for the health and well being of the public. Disaster Management Disaster Management involves the activities required to prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and repair the effects of all disasters whether natural or man-made. Homeland Security Homeland Security involves protecting the nation against terrorist attacks. This includes analyzing threats and intelligence, guarding borders and airports, protecting critical infrastructure, and coordinating the response emergencies. The Homeland Security Line of Business is defined by the President’s Strategy on Homeland Security. Note: Some of the Critical Mission Areas from the President’s strategy have already been identified in other Lines of Business in the BRM. Financial Management The use of financial information to measure, operate and predict the effectiveness and efficiency of an entitys activities in relation to its objectives. The ability to obtain and use such information is usually characterized by having in place policies, practices, standards, and a system of controls that reliably capture and report activity in a consistent manner. (Applications and Services Layer) E-Authentication eAuthentication is an enabling technology and process foundation that helps USDA achieve its goals and objectives for eGovernment by supporting all USDA eGovernment initiatives and applications. The eAuthentication initiative is, and will continue to be,
  17. 17. fully integrated with the Presidential Initiative for eAuthentication Geospatial Line of Business Provides an accurate representation of land use location for decision-making. By mapping, surveying or other spatial data collection for cartographic, earth science or public land use. “Core business processes are currently in draft form and will be presented to FEAPMO soon” Disaster Management The Disaster Management eGovernment Presidential Initiative will help citizens and members of the emergency management community at the local, tribal, state, and Federal levels by improving public safety response through more effective and efficient interoperable data communications and to serve as a unified point of access to disaster preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery information. E-Travel The eTravel initiative provides a government-wide Web-based service that applies world-class travel management practices to consolidate federal travel, minimize cost, and produce superior customer satisfaction. From travel planning and authorization to reimbursement, the eTravel Service will leverage administrative, financial and information technology best practices to realize significant cost savings and improved employee productivity. The initiative creates a single, online portal for all federal grant customers to find and apply for federal grants. SAFECOM The Wireless Public Safety Communications initiative provides interoperable wireless solutions for local, tribal, state and federal public safety agencies and ensures they can communicate and share information effectively, efficiently, and across agencies and jurisdictions as they respond to emergency incidents. USA Services The USA Services initiative is designed to develop and deploy government-wide citizen customer service processes using industry best practices that will provide citizens with timely, consistent responses about government information and services. E-Loans The eLoans initiative creates a single point of access for citizens to locat application will improve efficiency and understanding of loan programs. Integrated Acquisition This initiative creates a secure business environment Environment that will facilitate and support cost-effective acquisition of goods and services by agencies, while eliminating inefficiencies in the current acquisition environment., the official U.S. gateway to all government information, is the catalyst for a growing
  18. 18. electronic government. Our work transcends the traditional boundaries of government and our vision is global–connecting the world to all U.S. government information and services. E-Rulemaking eRulemaking enables citizens to easily access and participate in the rulemaking process. The initiative improves the access to, and quality of, the rulemaking process for individuals, businesses, and other government entities while streamlining and increasing the efficiency of internal agency processes. Human Resource LoB HR Line of Business includes all activities associated with the recruitment and management of personnel . Newly incorporated Presidential Initiatives include Recruitment One-Stop, E-Training, E-Payroll, E- Clearance, and Enterprise HR Integration. Recreation One-Stop Presidential Recreation One-Stop (R1S) & within that framework modernization of FS provisioning of Recreation Information and Services. The R1S project is one of the e-Government initiatives in the Presidential Management Agenda to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and customer service of the Federal Government. It is the "executive agent" designated by OMB to manage the tourism and recreation sub-function of the Natural Resources line of business in the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA). The R1S initiative is intended to improve access to recreation-related information generated by the various levels of government (Federal, tribal, state, and local), to streamline the systems used to manage that information, and to enhance the sharing of recreation- related information among government and non- government organizations. The project will include the procurement of a new contract to integrate the separate recreation-related reservation systems, including the National Park Reservation Service and the National Recreation Reservation System (NRRS). Business Gateway This eGovernment Presidential initiative will reduce the burden on businesses by making it easy to find, understand, and comply with relevant laws and regulations at all levels of government. The Business Gateway will provide the Nation's businesses with a single, internet-based access point to government services and information to help businesses with their operations
  19. 19. The GovBenefits initiative provides a single point of access for citizens to locate and determine potential eligibility for government benefits and services. E- Loans incorported into this Presidential Initiative July 2006. Federal Asset Sales This presidential initiative is designed to identify, recommend, and implement improvements for asset recovery and disposition, making it easier for agencies, businesses, and citizens to find and acquire federal assets. Financial Management LoB The Financial Mangement Line of Business seeks to find a government-wide financial management solution that is efficient and improves business performance while ensuring integrity in accountability, financial controls and mission effectiveness. E-Records Management The eRecords Mangement initiative provides policy guidance to help agencies to better manage their electronic records, so that records information can be effectively used to support timely and effective decision making, enhance service delivery, and ensure accountability. The four major issue areas are correspondence management, enterprise-wide electronic records management, electronic information management standards, and transferring permanent records to NARA Federal Health Architecture LoB The Federal Health Architecture Initiative aims to incorporate all health-related activities into one federal architecture. Specifically, the architecture’s focus involves: • Identification of collaborative business opportunities that leverage existing efforts and investments • Development of a performance measurement and outcome strategy • Adoption of technical and data standards Development of specifications for implementing those standards International Trade Processing This eGovernment solution makes it easy for Small and Streamlining Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to obtain the information and documents needed to conduct business abroad. Also, has been merged into this line of business. (Data Layer) Fire Databases Interagency fire databases
  20. 20. Geospatial Databases Interagency geospatial databases. USDA has 3 major geospatial data warehouses: two in Salt Lake City, Utah, and one in Fort Worth, Texas. Health Databases Interagency health databases Government-Wide Authentication Authenticated credentials that allow individuals to get Credentials only the information they need at the time that they need it. Human Resources Databases Interagency databases that interface with OPM databases (Technology Layer) Secure Networks A network (whether a standalone network or a virtual network within the Internet), which is only accessible to Authorized Users whose identity is authenticated at the time of login and periodically thereafter consistent with then-current best practice and security procedures. Source: A device that acts as a gateway between a protected enclave and the outside world. Source: Extranets Secure web-based sites with Interior and Forest Service, AMS and others. An extranet is a private network that uses the Internet protocol and the public telecommunication system to securely share part of a business's information or operations with suppliers, vendors, partners, customers, or other businesses. An extranet can be viewed as part of a company's intranet that is extended to users outside the company. An extranet requires security and privacy, including firewall server management, the issuance and use of digital certificates or similar means of user authentication, encryption of messages, and the use of virtual private networks (VPN) that tunnel through the public network. Source: